Unvaccinated child becomes first Florida pediatric flu death of season

U.S. & World

An unvaccinated child has died after coming down with the flu, according to the Florida Department of Health.

It is the first influenza-associated pediatric death reported for the 2018-2019 flu season.

The child, who was not identified, tested positive for influenza B at a local healthcare provider. The death of the unvaccinated child was reported during the first week of flu season, which was Sept. 30 through Oct. 6, 2018.

Health officials say the child did not have any underlying medical conditions.

The Florida Department of Health receives reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths each season. 

The FDOH says most deaths are reported in unvaccinated children and children with underlying medical conditions. Children, especially those with certain health conditions are at increased risk of severe complications from influenza infection.

Influenza vaccinations have been shown to reduce a child’s likelihood of dying from influenza by up to 60 percent. 

Other people who are at-risk for severe illness from the flu are pregnant women and adults who are 65 years old and up.

Pregnant Women

The FDOH says influenza is five times more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women (even those who are generally healthy) compared to women who are not pregnant. 

Pregnant women with certain underlying medical conditions (such as asthma or heart disease) are at even great risk for severe complications from influenza. 

The FDOH says inactivated influenza vaccines are safe, provide the best protection for pregnant women and their babies, and are recommended at any time during pregnancy. Vaccination during pregnancy provides maternal antibody protection to infants too young to be vaccinated for influenza and has been shown to protect pregnant women from influenza-associated hospitalization and preterm birth. For more information, talk to your health care provider

Adults ages 65 and up

Adults who are 65 years old and older are also at higher risk for severe complications from influenza infection, including hospitalization and death. 

While influenza seasons vary in intensity, adults in this age group bear the greatest burden of severe influenza disease.

The FDOT says in Florida, an average of 80 percent of seasonal pneumonia and influenza deaths occurred in adults aged 65 years and up over the last five influenza seasons. 

Annual vaccination is the best way to prevent influenza infection.

Check with your physician, your county health department, or use the Florida Department of Health’s Flu Shot Locator to schedule your flu vaccine.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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